RCAF and Canadian aviation history: 1 Jan 1951 - 1 Apr 2024

RCAF and Canadian aviation history

1 Jan 1951 - 1 Apr 2024

On 1 April 1924, the RCAF was established as a permanent component of Canada's defence force. In 2024, the RCAF will be celebrating 100 years of service to Canada.  Many aviation enthusiasts have contributed to this compilation of key events in Canada's aviation history.  Where there are conflicting dates for the events recorded up to the end of the RCAF on 28 Feb 1968,  the yardstick used here is Samuel Kostenuk and John Griffin's RCAF: Squadron Histories and Aircraft 1924-1968. Hardcover.  (Canadian War Museum Historical Publications No. 14, 1 Jan 1977)

Key Dates in Canadian Aviation History

01 Nov 1951. No. 1 (Fighter) Wing was formed at North Luffenham, Rutland, England.  On 1 Mar 1955 it moved to Marville, France.  On 1 Mar 1963 it relinquished its specialized fighter designation.  On 1 Apr 1967 it moved to Lahr, Germany.  It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces on 1 Feb 1968.

01 Nov 1951. No. 430 (Fighter) Squadron was reformed at North Bay, Ontario, flying the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and later the Mk. 5 and Mk. 6.  It was given the nickname Silver Falcon.  In Sep 1962 the squadron was sent overseas to 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France, where it remained until it was deactivated on 1 Jun 1963.  The squadron was reactivated on 30 Sep 1963 as No. 430 (Strike Attack) Squadron at No. 3 (Fighter) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany, and re-equipped with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.  In Feb 1969 the squadron moved to No. 1 Wing, Lahr, Germany.  It was disbanded in May 1970.

The squadron was reformed in 1971 as a French-language Canadian Forces tactical helicopter squadron at Valcartier, Quebec and is known officially as 430e Escadron tactique d'hélicoptères.  No. 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron flew Bell CH-136 Kiowa and Bell CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters in support of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG).  The squadron transitioned to the Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter in 1994.  The squadron was deployed as part of the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) and also provided core personnel to the Rotary Wing Aviation Unit of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) on peacekeeping operations in the Sinai.

(MSgt Robert A. Whitehead, US Defense Imagery Photo)

Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter, NNo. 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, 16 Jul 2006.

13 Nov 1951. The first DHC-2 Beaver, an L-20A, was turned over to the US Army at Downsview, Ontario.

15 Dec 1951. No. 421 Squadron returned after training in England and was relocated at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, and re-equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre fighters.


2 Jan 1952. RCAF Air Division Europe Planning was formed at Paris, France, to prepare for the establishment of RCAF units in Europe.

12 Feb 1952. No. 441 Squadron left St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec to join No. 1 Fighter Wing in England.

30 May 1952. Twenty-one Canadair Sabres of No. 439 Squadron flew from Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, to their new base at North Luffenham, England, in stages.

01 Jul 1952. No. 434 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, equipped with the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and later Mk. 6.  In Mar 1953 the squadron joined No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrücken, Germany.  It was deactivated  on 15 Jan 1963.  It was reactivated on 8 Apr 1963 as No. 434 (Strike Attack) Squadron, one of eight squadrons in No. 1 Air Division to be re-equipped with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  The squadron was deactivated on 1 Mar 1967.

On 15 Feb 1968 No. 434 Operational Training Squadron was reformed at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta as the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter Operational Training Unit (OTU).  The squadron later relinquished its OTU duties to No. 419 Squadron and became an operational squadron, moving to CFB Bagotville, Quebec on 15 Jul 1982, and later moving to CFB Chatham, New Brunswick in Jul 1985.  The unit became No. 434 Composite Squadron and reformed at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia on 4 Jul 1992.  The unit was renamed No. 434 Combat Support Squadron and moved to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia in mid-1995, flying the Bombardier CC-144 Challenger and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star in the electronic warfare role.  The squadron was disbanded in May 2000.  The unit was reactivated in May 2018 at CFB Trenton, Ontario as No. 434 Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron.

01 Jul 1952. No. 407 (Maritime Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed at Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  On 17 Jul 1956 it was redesignated No. 407 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron.  It was the third of four and the only West Coast unit formed in Maritme Command.  The squadron was equipped with the Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR, and the Lockheed Neptune.   It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.  The squadron flew the Canadair CP-107 Argus until it was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora.  It is currently located at No. 19 Wing Comox, flying the Aurora on coastal patrol, anti-submarine and long range patrol duties.  It used these aircraft to conduct operations in the Arabian Sea after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.  In recent years, they have detected and gathered evidence against over a dozen suspected driftnet vessels in support of Canada's commitment to enforcing the United Nations moratorium on high-seas driftnet fishing.  The advanced sensors and cameras on board the Aurora were also used to protect Canadians to monitor flooding and dike stability during the Manitoba floods of 2010.  No. 407 Squadron has been active in Afghanistan, supporting Operation APOLLO from 2001-2003 as well as in 2009 during Operation ATHENA.  No. 407 Squadron served in an Intelligence, Reconnassaince and Surveillance role during Operation MOBILE in the skies over Libya from 2010 to 2011.

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20721), No. 407 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron, over CFB Comox, British Columbia.

01 Aug 1952. No. 427 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and later Mk. 5 and Mk. 6.  The squadron was deactivated at No. 2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France on 15 Dec 1962 and reactivated at No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrücken, Germany on 17 Dec 1962 as No. 427 (Strike Attack) Squadron, and re-equipped with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The squadron was disbanded on 1 Jul 1970 and reactivated as No. 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Petawawa, Ontario.  

The squadron took an active role in humanitarian efforts such as the Jan 1998 ice storm in eastern Canada, where the squadron deployed eight aircraft to Ottawa and Kingston, and the Nov 1998 mission to help the victims of Hurricane Mitche.  With only 24 hours' notice, four No. 427 Squadron Bell CH-146 Griffon deployed to La Ceiba, Honduras.  There, Griffon crews airlifted medical teams into communities cut off by the hurricane.  For the next six weeks, the squadron ferried supplies and aid workers to many isolated towns and villages.

On 1 Feb 2006, command of No. 427 was transferred to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, as it took on a full-time role of special operations aviation support.  Shortly thereafter, it was renamed No. 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS),   Unlike other units in CANSOFCOM including JTF 2, CSOR, and CJIRU, there are no specialized standards (in the "Special Operations" context) for any No. 427 SOAS members and entrance into No. 427 SOAS requires only negotiations through Career Managers and their current unit.  The squadron has a dedicated concrete helipad, measuring 150 ft × 150 ft (46 m × 46 m), at Petawawa Heliport.

Aug 1952. No. 1 Air Division Headquarters was formed at Paris, France.

28 Sep-11 Oct 1952. Nos. 416, 421, and 430 Squadrons flew from Canada to their new base at Grostenquin, France, in stages where they formed No. 2 Fighter Wing.

01 Oct 1952.  No. 1 Air Division Europe was formally constituted at Paris, France as an operational command of the North Atlantic Treay (NATO) organization's Allied Command Europe (ACE).  On 13 Apr 1953 it moved to Metz, France.  On 1 Apr 1967 it moved to Lahr, Germany.  On 1 Feb 1968 it was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

01 Oct 1952. No. 2 (Fighter) Wing was formed at Grostenquin, France.  It relinquished its specialized fighter Designation on 1 Mar 1963.  It was disbanded on 1 Aug 1964.

01 Nov 1952. No. 414 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Bagotville, Quebec.  Over its history the squadron was variously equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4, Mk. 5, Mk. 6 fighters.  The squadron joined No. 4 (Fighter) Wing at Baden-Soellingen, German in Aug 1953.  No. 414 (Fighter) Squadron was deactivated on 14 Jul 1957 and reactivated on 5 Aug 1957 as No. 414 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron at North Bay, Ontario.  The squadron flew Avro CF-100 Canuck and McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo fighters on North American air defence until it was disbanded on 30 Jun 1964.  The squadron was reformed on 1 Apr 1959 as an Electronic Warfare (EW) unit at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec and on 15 Sep 1967 it was redesignated No. 414 (Electronic Warfare) Squadron.  The unit provided Air Defence Command ground control radar personnel and airborne interceptor crews (flying the Avro CF-100 Canuck), with training and experiences in combatting radar jamming.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

In August 1972 the squadron moved to CFB North Bay, Ontario where it remained for the next twenty years flying the Avro CF-100 Cannuck, Dassault CC-117 Falcon and McDonnell EF-101B "Electric Voodoo".  In 1992 the squadron was split into two parts with one part going to CFB Comox, British Columbia as No. 414 Composite Squadron and the other part going to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia as No. 434 Composite Squadron.  In 1993 the squadron changed its name to No. 414 Combat Support Squadron when it was equipped with the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.  The squadron was disbanded in 2002 when its duties were contracted out to a civilian company.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4118634

No. 414 Squadron on parade with Canadair CF-133 Silver Stars, CFB North Bay, Ontario, 9 Aug 1972.

On 7 Dec 2007 approval was received for the squadron to stand up once more, this time as No. 414 Electronic Warfare Support (EWS) Squadron.  Flying out of No. 3 Wing Bagotville, the squadron is based in Ottawa and is composed of military Electronic Warfare Officers who fulfill the combat support role, flying on civilian contracted aircraft.  The squadron was re-formed at Gatineau Airport, Quebec, on 20 Jan 2009 to operate the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet provided by Discovery Air Defence Services.

Nov 1952.  Heavier-than-air Utility Air Squadron (VU 32) was formed as the redesignation of FRU 743.  It had been renamed VU 32 under the US system of numbering in May 1954.  It was disbanded in Jun 1992 when No. 434 Squadron assumed its duties.

18 Dec 1952. An Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck exceeded Mach 1 in a dive while piloted by Jan Zurakowski.  It was the first straight-winged aircraft to do so without rocket power.

22 Dec 1952. The Canadian prototype Lockheed T-33 Silver Star was test flown at Cartierville, Quebec, by W.S. Longhurst.

30 Dec 1952. An R-1340 Wasp engine, the first to be built in Canada, was tested at Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Ltd, at Longueiul, Quebec.


01 Jan 1953. No. 422 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, and was equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 and later the Mk. 4 Mk. 5 and Mk. 6.  The squadron joined No. 4 (Fighter) Wing at Baden-Soellingen, Germany in Aug 1953.  The squadron was one of eight Sabre units in No. 1 Air Division Europe that was re-equipped with the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter in a nuclear role.  It was deactivated on 15 Apr 1963 and reactivated on 15 Jul 1963 as No. 422 (Strike Attack) Squadron.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  In Jul 1970 it was deactivated.  In Jan 1971 the squadron was reactivated as No. 422 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and served until it was disbanded in Aug 1980.

23 Jan 1953. F/L E.A. Glover was awarded the DFC.  Attached to the USAF in Korea, F/L Glover destroyed three MiG-15’s and damaged two others.

(USN Photo)

U.S. Navy Grumman F9F-5 Panther jet fighter (BuNo 126204) from Fighter Squadron 111 (VF-111) "Sundowners" in flight over mountainous Korean terrain, 14 June 1953.

01 Feb 1953.  LCdr J.J. MacBrien, RCN, flying as an exchange pilot in a Grumman F9F Panther jet from the USS Oriskany, led a flight on an interdiction mission against supply and storage targets near Pukchong, Korea.  He was cited for “extraordinary achievement” in accomplishing the mission “despite marginal flying weather, heavy anti-aircraft fire, he displayed courageous leadership and outstanding pilot skill...in the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Feb 1953. Rimouski Airlines Ltd changed its name to Quebecair Inc.

02 Feb 1953. No. 3 (Fighter) Wing was formed at Zweibrücken, Germany.  It relinquished its specialized fighter designation on 1 Mar 1963.  It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces on 1 Feb 1968.  On 27 Aug 1969 the RCAF left Zweibrücken as an austerity measure.  Its units consolidated at CFB lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany.  Control of the station was transferred to the United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) 16th Air Force.

01 Mar 1953.  No. 444 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 4 and later Mk. 5 and Mk. 6 fighters.  It was the last of the 12 squadrons for No. 1 Air Division Europe and joined No. 4 (Fighter) Wing at Baden-Soellingen, Germany in Sep 1953.  It was deactivated on 1 Mar 1963, and reactivated on 27 May 1963 as No. 444 (Strike Attack) Squadron, one of eight RCAF squadrons chosen to fly the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  The squadron was deactivated on 1 Apr 1967.  The unit was re-formed at CFB Lahr Germany in 1972 as No. 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Lahr, flying the CH-112 Nomad and later the Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopters.  It served as part of Canadian Forces Europe until 1991.  In 1993 it stood up again at CFB Goose Bay, Labrador as No, 444 Combat Support Squadron, flying Bell CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters until 1996.  The squadron is currently equipped with three Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters.  No. 444 Combat Support Squadron’s primary mission is to provide rapid response to local emergencies during flight operations and military exercises taking place at 5 Wing.  In its utility role the squadron carries out tasks such as range support and assistance to civil authorities.

03 Mar 1953. Canadian Pacific Airlines’ first de Havilland DH.106 Comet crashed on take-off at Karachi, Pakistan, on its delivery flight, killing all 11 on board.

7 Mar 1953. Nos. 413, 427 and 434 Squadrons flew to their new base at Zweibrücken, Germany, forming No. 3 Fighter Wing.

Mar 1953. The DHC-2 Mk. 2 prototype, an Alvis Leonides-powered Beaver, was test flown by G.A. Neal.

Mar 1953.  Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) No. 10 Squadron Heavier-than-air Experimental Air Squadron (VX 10) was formed at Shearwater, Nova Scotia.  VX 10 performed testing and evaluation of all new aircraft, equipment and modifications that would eventually enter service with the RCN.  The aircraft flown included the Grumman Avenger , Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor, Fairey Firefly, Bell HTL-4 helicopter, Hawker Sea Fury, Sikorsky H04S helicopter, Grumman Sentinel, de Havilland (Grumman) Tracker, McDonnell Banshee, Sikorsky Sea King helicopter.  The squadron was disbanded in Jun 1970 when it was "absorbed" into the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.   (Shearwater Aviation Museum)

01 Apr 1953. No. 436 (Transport) Squadron was re-formed at Dorval, Montreal, Quebec, equipped with the Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar transport aircraft.  In Jan 1955 it helped move No. 1 (Fighter) Wing from North Luffenham, England to Marville, France.  On 1 Jul 1956 the squadron moved to Downsview, Toronto, Ontario.  In Aug 1964 it moved to Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, and was re-equipped with the Lockheed CC-130E Hercules transport.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  On 11 Aug 1971 the squadron moved to CFB Trenton, Ontario.  

No. 436 Transport Squadron provides tactical and strategic airlift capabilities for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  Initial modern equipment was the Lockheed C-130E Hercules.  These were replaced by 17 Lockheed CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft which are currently operated by the squadron (Serial Nos. 601–617).  The unit has operated aircraft from Afghanistan, sent aircraft and personnel to support Operation Mobile during the 2011 military intervention in Libya, and deployed CC-130J Super Hercules assets in support of Operation Impact.

01 Apr 1953. No. 445 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was formed at North Bay, Ontario.  The squadron was the first unit to fly the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk. 3B and later the Mk. 4B on North American air defence.  In Nov 1956 it joined No. 1 Air Division Europe at No. 1 (Fighter) Wing, Marville, France.  The squadron was disbanded on 31 Dec 1962.

09 Apr 1953. A North American Harvard of the RCAF collided with a TCA   Douglas DC-4M at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Thirty-seven were killed.

10 Apr 1953. No. 1 Air Division Headquarters moved from Paris to Metz, France.

(DND Archives Photo, PL-134327)

An aerial view of Château de Mercy in Metz, France, where 1 Air Division was headquartered.

Battle-scarred Chateau Mercy-les-Metz, served as the main administration building at Canada’s NATO Air Division Headquarters in the early 1960s.  It is located on a rise of land about four and one-half miles outside Metz, probably the most heavily fortified city in Europe.  With more than a thousand years of recorded history behind its original counterpart, "Chateau Mercy"; stands in the middle of Europe’s traditional invasion route.

It has been established that a Roman villa occupied the strategic site during the third century AD. However, the first written history relates that in 926 AD it was a feudal estate and the seat of High, Middle and Low courts for the district.From 1404 to 1906 the estate passed from one aristocratic French family to another, being burned to the ground twice and rebuilt twice during this period. After the last fire in 1870, only the private chapel, built in 1626, remained standing. This was renovated in 1955 and is now used for regular worship by RCAF Roman Catholic personnel.It wasn’t until 1905 that the chateau was rebuilt. This was done by an eccentric noblewoman who couldn’t afford to live in the showpiece – the interior of which combines magnificent woodwork, statuary and marble decoration. She sold it to the State. At the outbreak of the First World War, the stately old chateau saw duty as an equipment storehouse.

During the Second World War, the French Army occupied the buildings but Metz fell to the Germans, who utilized the chateau as a military hospital. Later, Americans took it over briefly, and in post-war years the estate became a holiday camp for the children of French Army personnel.When Canada’s Air Division overseas began expanding in 1952, a planning team sought a headquarters location easily accessible to the various planned RCAF units on the Continent. Their ultimate choice was the Chateau Mercy.

The Canadian Headquarters moved from Paris to Metz in April 1953, at which time the entire 35-acre estate had only four buildings on it: The Chateau, in which renovations were nearly complete; the coach house, tenable but unprepossessing; the lodge at the entrance of the estate, which had no floors and virtually no roof; and the chapel.Besides the original four buildings, all of which are in daily use, ten new buildings have been constructed. These include barrack blocks, messes, office and supply space and a modern mobile equipment garage.But the gracious architecture of the Chateau Mercy itself wasn't ignored. In the main conference room - probably designed as a ballroom - high-ranking military and civilian visitors often confer with the Air Officer Commanding of the Air Division.The Chateau's shell-pocketed exterior, however, still offers a grin reminder of fierce wartime fighting.

01 May 1953.  RCN No. 920 Composite Squadron was authorized.  It was formed as VC 920 under the USN system of numbering.  VC 920 flew the North American Harvard, Grumman Avenger and the Beechcraft Expeditor, until it was disbanded on 20 Mar 1954.

18 May 1953. Jacqueline Cochrane exceeded Mach 1 in an Orenda-powered Canadair CL-13 Sabre.  She was the first woman to break the sound barrier.

20 May 1953. The first of two RCAF de Havilland DH.106 Comet aircraft was flown to Canada from England, the RCAF’s first jet transport.

30 May 1953. Central BC Airways Ltd changed its name to Pacific Western Airlines Ltd and absorbed several smaller BC air operations at the same time.

01 Jun 1953. No. 423 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec.  It flew Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk. 3B, Mk. 4B and Mk. 5 fighters on North American air defence until 1 Feb 1957, when it joined No. 1 Air Division Europe at No. 2 (Fighter) Wing, Grostenquin, France.  The squadron was disbanded on 31 Dec 1962.  In 1974, it was re-formed as No. 423 Anti-Submarine Squadron.  In 1995 its name was changed to No. 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron.  It flew the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopter, which it used in support of Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships during the 1991 Gulf War and in the Arabian Sea after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.  Since Jan 2018 it has been flying the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.

(DND Photo)

A pair of Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4Bs of No. 423 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron in 1962.  Aircraft (Serial No. 18364) with F/O Saunders and F/O Maltais breaks away from (Serial No. 18330) with F/O Stanners and F/L Mack.  Photo was taken while the aircraft were participating in training at the Air Weapons (training) Unit in Sardinia.  These CF-100s were based at No. (Fighter) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France.  Front-line CF-100s were used by the RCAF in Europe from 1956 to 1962.

01 Jul 1953. No. 4 (Fighter) Wing was formed at Baden-Soellingen, Germany.  It relinquished its specialized fighter designation on 1 Mar 1963.  It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces on 1 Feb 1968.  On 31 Mar 1993 the airfield CFB Baden-Soellingen was closed.  By 31 Aug 1993, the remaining elements served as a detachment of CFB Lahr until the base was permanently closed on 31 Dec 1993.

27 Jul 1953.  The Korean Armistice Agreement is signed, establishing the border between North and South Korea, and putting a cease-fire into effect.  As no peace treaty was signed, the two nations technically remain at war to this day.

30 Jul 1953. The Orenda-powered Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. V was test flown at Cartierville, Quebec by W.S. Longhurst.

27 Aug-04 Sep 1953. Nos. 414, 422, and 444 Squadrons flew from Canada to their new base at Baden Soellingen, Germany to form No. 4 Fighter Wing.

30 Sep 1953.  RCN No. 921 Composite Squadron was authorized.  It was formed as VC 921 under the USN system of numbering.  VC 921 flew the North American Harvard and the Beechcraft Expeditor, until it was disbanded on 3 Mar 1959.

01 Oct 1953. No. 440 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Bagotville, Quebec, equipped with Avro Canada CF-100 Mk. 3B and Mk. 4B Canuck fighters on North American air defence until May 1957 when it joined No. 1 Air Division Europe at No. 3 (Fighter) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany.  The squadron was disbanded on 31 Dec 1962.  The squadron was reactivated on 8 Jul 1968 at CFB Winnipeg, Manitoba as No. 440 Communications and Rescue Squadron equipped with Douglas CC-129 Dakotas and Vertol H-21 helicopters.  In Oct 1968 it was redesignated as No. 440 Transport and Rescue Squadron.  The unit later moved to Namao, just outside Edmonton, Alberta, where it flew the de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo and de Havilland and CC-138 Twin Otter.  At the time, two of the Twin Otters were stationed in Yellowknife, and in 1994 after CFB Namao closed the squadron moved north.  In 1995 it was redesignated No. 440 Transport Squadron.

01 Dec 1953.  RCN No. 922 Composite Squadron was authorized.  It was orignially formed as CFU No. 1 in Jul 1952.  In Dec 1953 it was formed as VC 922 under the USN system of numbering.  VC 922 flew Supermarine Seafire Mk. XV and Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 fighters until it was disbanded in Dec 1963.

15 Dec 1953.  No. 22 Wing (Auxiliary) was formed at London, Ontario.  It was disbanded on 1 Apr 1957.


16 Jan 1954. Trans-Canada Airlines extends its routes into Mexico.

18 Jan 1954.  No. 431 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Bagotville, Quebec, flying the Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2.  The squadron was formed on a temporary basis until there were enough new Avro CF-100 Canuck fighters available to fulfill RCAF squadron needs.  No. 431 (Fighter) Squadron's duties included aerial combat training and displaying the capabilities of jet operations to the public at air shows, the largest being Operation Prairie Pacific: a 50-minute exhibition with aircraft from several squadrons that travelled to selected locations across western Canada.  The team from No. 431 Squadron consisted of four Sabres and a solo aircraft.  This was the first Sabre team to be authorized to perform formation aerobatics in Canada.  The squadron was disbanded on 1 Oct 1954.

(RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. 2 flight line, No. 431 Squadron, RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, 1954.

In 1969 the idea of a demonstration team was developed, leading to the ad hoc formatoin of No. 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School Formation Team, known informally as the "Tutor Whites".  The team grew in size to seven aircraft in 1971 using eleven pilots, and gradually gained recognition.  Formation flypasts were replaced with more complicated manoeuvres, and more aircraft were added as the team matured.  A contest to give the air demonstration team a formal name was held at Bushell Park Elementary School at CFB Moose Jaw, and resulted in the name "Snowbirds".  The name was formally adopted on 25 Jun 1971.  The Snowbirds were officially authorized to be designated the "Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team" on 15 Jan 1975.  The team was formed into its own squadron by reactivating No. 431 Squadron (renamed No. 431 Air Demonstration Squadron) on 1 Apr 1978.

The Snowbirds are equipped with the Canadair CT-114 Tutor, with nine for aerobatic performances, including two solo aircraft, and two spares, flown by the team coordinators.  Additionally, 13 Tutors are maintained in storage.  Approximately 80 Canadian Forces personnel work with the squadron full-time; 24 personnel are in the show team that travels during the show season. The Snowbirds are the only major military aerobatics team that operates without a support aircraft.  Pilots, technicians (aviation, avionics, aircraft structure, supply), mobile support operators, resource management support clerks, an engineering officer, a logistics officer and a public affairs officer representing all three elements (Army, Navy and Air Force), work as a team to bring thrilling performances to the Canadian public.  Serving as ambassadors of the CAF, the CF Snowbirds demonstrate the high level of skill, professionalism, teamwork, discipline and dedication inherent in the men and women of the CAF and they inspire the pursuit of excellence wherever they go in North America.  The Snowbirds continue the flying demonstration tradition of previous Canadian air force aerobatic teams, which include the Siskins, the Blue Devils, the Golden Hawks and the Golden Centennaires.

4 Feb-17 Mar 1954. The Canadair C-5 aircraft (A DC-4M North Star fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines) of No. 412 Squadron flew Prime Minister Louis St Laurent around the world.

26 Feb 1954. Trans-Canada Airlines receives its first Lockheed L1049 Constellation aircraft.

15 Mar 1954. No. 419 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at North Bay, Ontario.  The squadron flew Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck fighters on North American air defence until Aug 1957 when it joined No. 1 Air Division Europe at No. 4 (Fighter) Wing, Baden-Soellingen, Germany.  The squadron was disbanded on 31 Dec 1962.  On 2 May 1975 the unit was reformed at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta as No. 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.  It was disbanded in 1995 when the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter aircraft was retired.

(CF Photo via Mike Murphy)

Canadair CF116 (Serial No.116715), No. 419 TFT Squadron, CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, firing rockets.

On 23 Jul 2000, No. 419 Squadron was reformed at 4 Wing Cold lake, Alberta to conduct advanced lead in fighter training for Canadian and NATO pilots using nine BAE Systems CT-155 Hawk advanced trainer aircraft.

11 Apr 1954. S/L R.G. Christie flew from Vancouver, BC to Ottawa, Ontario in 3 hrs 46 mins flying time (with stops in Calgary, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba) in a Canadair CL-13 Sabre Mk. V.

May 1954.  VT 40 Air Training Squadron was formed as VT 40 under the US system of numbering at HMCS Shearwater, Nova Scotia.  Aircraft flown by the squadron included the North American Harvard, Hawker Sea Fury FB.11, Grumman Avenger, Beechcraft CT-128 Expeditor, and the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.

02 May 1954.  RCN No. 923 Composite Squadron was authorized.  It was formed as VC 923 under the USN system of numbering.  VC 923 flew the North American Harvard until it was disbanded on 20 Feb 1959.

21 Jun 1954. No. 428 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario, equipped with the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4A, Mk. 4B and Mk. 5 fighters on North American air defence until it was disbanded on 1 Jun 1961.

Given the serious nature of the Cold War, everything that flew into the Canadian Northern Air Defence Region had to be detected and identified within two minutes by RCAF or USAF Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron personnel.  If an aircraft was unknown at two minutes, fighters were scrambled to intercept, to find out why the aircraft could not be identified, to force it to land, or to shoot it down.  Receiving interception notification from No. 3 ADCC at RCAF Station Edgar, No. 428 AW (F) Squadron fighters, on Alert Status, were airborne within five minutes, when under reduced status 15 minutes, and one hour was permitted.  To meet the standard, and when on exercise, squadron aircraft with alert crews were positioned fuelled and armed, 24 hours a day/seven days a week, in special Quick Reaction Alert hangars.  The squadron lost six aircrew during flying operations in 1956 and 1960.

01 Jul 1954.  RCN No. 924 Composite Squadron was authorized.  It was formed as VC 924 under the USN system of numbering.  VC 923 flew the North American Harvard until it was disbanded on 4 Mar 1959.

01 Aug 1954.  No. 30 Wing (Auxiliary) was formed at Calgary, Alberta.  It was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.

29 Sep 1954. de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd opened its new plant at Downsview, Ontario.

01 Oct 1954. No. 425 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec, equipped with the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4A, Mk. 4B and Mk. 5.  It was deactivated on 1 May 1961.  The squadron was reactivated on 15 Oct 1961 at Namao, Alberta, and initially received the trainer version of the McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo and later the CF-101F Voodoo.  The squadron served as a training unit to convert thr remaining four squadrons to the Voodoo.  In Jul 1962 the squadron moved to Bagotville, Quebec and became operational on 1 Oct 1962.  On 1 Feb the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

No. 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron was equipped with McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornets in 1985.  In 2005, No. 433 Squadron merged with No. 425 Squadron.  In 2008, the squadron was awarded its first battle honour since the Second World War for its part in the bombing of Yugoslavia during NATO's military operations, Operation Allied Force.  The bombing was NATO's second major combat operation, following the 1995 bombing campaign inBosnia and Hergovina.  It was the first time that NATO had used military force without the expressed endorsement of the UN Security Council, which triggered debates over the legitimacy of intervention.

01 Oct 1954. No. 432 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron "Black Cougar" was re-formed at Bagotville, Quebec, equipped with the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4A, and later Mk. 4B and Mk. 5 fighters.  The squadron flew on North American air defence until it was disbanded on 15 Oct 1961.

(DND Photo)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 5 (Serial No. 18539), coded DL, No. 432 Squadron, over RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, 16 Aug 1957.  

01 Nov 1954. No. 409 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Comox, British Columbia, equipped with Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck and in 1962 converted to McDonnell CF-101 fighters on North American (West Coast) air defence duty.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The squadron transferred to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta in 1984 to convert to the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet and then deployed to CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany as part of Canada's NATO commitment.  The squadron was then disbanded in 1991 with the withdrawal of Canadian Forces from Europe.  The squadron was briefly reformed back at Comox as a Combat Support Squadron (without aircraft) but was disbanded again.  No. 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron was re-formed from the consolidation of No. 416 and No. 441 Tactical Fighter Squadrons on 6 Jul 2006 at CFB Cold Lake.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4221656)

View from the back seat of a McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet, No. 409 (Fighter) Squadron flying over clouds in Southern Germany

15 Nov 1954.  No. 433 All-Weather (Fighter) Squadron was reformed at Cold Lake, Alberta.  In Oct 1955 the squadron moved to North Bay, Ontario, where it flew the Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4 and Mk. 5 fighter on North American air defence.  It was disbanded on 1 Aug 1961.  The unit was reformed after 1968 as No. 433 Escadrille tactique de combat, a French language squadron of Mobile Command based at Bagotville, Quebec.  No. 433 Escadrille flew the Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighter in the tactical and reconnaissance role until it was converted to the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet fighter in 1984.  The squadron was deactivated in 2005, and its assets and personnel amalgamated into No. 425 (Tactical Fighter) Squadron.  The squadron was reactivated on 9 Jun 2015.  The squadron celebrated its 75th anniversary on 15 September 2018.

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro CF-100 Canuck Mk. 4B (Serial No. 18409), being lifted by a crane.  This aircraft flew with No. 423, No. 433 and No. 440 Squadrons.

Nov 1954.  33 Squadron Heavier-than-air Utility Air Squadron was formed as VU 33 under the US system of numbering at Patricia Bay, British Columbia.  It served there from 1954 to 1974, then moved to Comox, British Columbia where it was based until it was disbanded in Jun 1992 when No. 414 Squadron assumed its duties.  VU 33 served as the RCN's west coast fixed wing (primarily) utility squadron performing such duties as Training, Naval Gunnery Target Towing, Transport, Search & Rescue and later continued these functions as part of the CF.

Aircraft Flown: Grumman Avenger , Grumman (DeHavilland Canada) Tracker , Lockheed (Canadair) Silver Star , Piasecki HUP-3

Home Base: Patricia Bay, BC (1954-1974) & Comox, BC (1974-1992)

13 Dec 1954. The first Vickers Viscount was accepted by Trans-Canada Airlines at Dorval, Quebec.

15 Dec 1954.  First test run of the Orenda PS-13 Iroquois jet engine, designed for the Avro Arrow.  At the time, this low bypass ratio turbofan was the most powerful aircraft engine in the world.


01 Jan 1955.  No. 23 Wing (Auxiliary) was formed at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  It was disbanded on 1 Apr 1964.

Jan 1955.  The RCN's first Canadair CT-33 Silver Star jet training aircraft, loaned from the RCAF, arrived at Shearwater, Nova Scotia.

1 Feb 1955. The Canadian prototype Helio Courier, built by Fleet Manufacturing Ltd, was test flown at Fort Erie, Ontario.

21 Mar 1955.  Construction of Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line defensive radar system across northern Canada and Alaska is announced.

24 Mar 1955. Three Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck fighters flew to England.  These Canucks were the first Canadian-designed aircraft to cross the Atlantic.

1 Apr 1955. Trans-Canada Airlines introduced the Vickers Viscount into regular service, making it the first North American airline to use turbine-powered aircraft.

2 May 1955. Trans-Canada Airlines inaugurated transcontinental scheduled cargo service using DC-4M North Star aircraft converted to freighters.

5 May 1955. An agreement was concluded between the United States and Canada for the construction and operation of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line of radar stations.

4 Jun 1955. Canadian Pacific Airlines introduced an over-the-pole service to Europe using Douglas DC-6B aircraft.

4 Jun 1955. The Canadian prototype Doman LZ-5 helicopter built by Fleet Manufacturing Ltd was test flown at Fort Erie, Ontario.

20-28 Jun 1955. All 12 squadrons of No. 1 Air Division in Europe took part in Exercise “Carte Blanche” which featured 3,000 aircraft of several nations.

4 Jul 1955. An Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron was formed at HMCS Shearwater, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

30 Sep-15 Nov 1955. A Canadair C-5 aircraft of No. 412 Squadron flew External Affairs Minister Lester B Pearson around the world.

11 Oct 1955. No. 433 Squadron moved from RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta to RCAF Station North Bay, Ontario.

Nov 1955.  The RCN's first of 39 McDonnell F2H-3 Banshees, purchased from the US Navy, arrived at Shearwater, Nova Scotia to replace the Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 fighters with VF 870 and VF 871 Squadrons.  In 1959, VF 871 was absorbed into VF 870, which flew the Banshees from the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure until Sep 1962 when the RCN Air Arm's first and last jet fighter was retired without replacement.


16 Jan 1956. S/L L. Hill and F/L A. Bowman flew a Canadair CT-33 Silver Star from Vancouver, British Columba to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in 6 hrs, 17 mins, including a 25 minute stop at Fort William, Ontario.

20 Mar-05 Apr 1955.  A Canadair C-5 aircraft of No. 412 Squadron flew Governor-General Massey on a tour of the Canadian Arctic and overflew the North Pole on 24 Mar.

10 Jul 1956. Sgt D.E. Stevenson twice entered an aviation fuel fire at Montmedy, France and brought it under control.  He was awarded the George Medal.

18 Aug 1956. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum was opened at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

30 Aug 1956. Four Canadair CL-13 Sabres of No. 2 Overseas Ferry Unit (OFU) flew from Vancouver, British Columba to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  The first section took 5 hrs, 30 min including a 10-minute stop at RCAF Station Gimli, Manitoba.  The second section took 5 hrs, 12 min, including two stops of seven minutes each at Gimli, Manitoba and St. Hubert, Quebec.

11 Sep 1956. Canada’s leading fighter pilot of the First World War, A/M William A. Bishop, died at West Palm Beach, Florida.

22 Oct 1956. No. 401 Squadron (Auxilliary) was the first of six auxiliary squadrons to be equipped with Canadair CL-13 Sabres.

Oct 1956.  The first of 100 deHavilland-built Grumman Tracker aircraft arrived at Shearwater, Nova Scotia.  The first version of the Tracker, the CS2F-1, was delivered to VS 881 in Feb 1957 and the squadron embarked in the newly arrived aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure in Sep 1957.  VS 880 received her Trackers in Oct 1957.  After conversion training that squadron embarked in HMCS Bonaventure for their first Tracker operations in Jan 1959.   In Jul 1960 VS 881 merged with VS 880 to form the RCN's sole ASW squadron and the largest squadron in the Commonwealth with 24 operational CS2F-1's and 450 personnel. With the demise of HMCS Bonaventure as an aircraft carrier in 1968, the Tracker was re-rolled as a land based maritime reconnaissance aircraft and VS 880 was redesignated as a Maritime Reconnaissance squadron, MR 880.  Tracker operations ceased at Shearwater in the summer of 1981 when MR 880 was transferred to Summerside, Prince Edward Island.  The Tracker was finally retired in 1990, 34 years after the first flight of the Canadian built CS2F.  (Shearwater Aviation Museum)

01-04 Nov 1956. No. 445 Squadron flew from RCAF Station Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario to Marville, France.  It was the first Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck-equipped squadron to join No. 1 Air Division.

20 Nov 1956. No. 435 (Transport) Squadron deployed from RCAF Station Namao, Alberta to Capodichino, Naples, Italy to assist UNEF in the Egyptian-Israeli crisis.

09 Dec 1956. A Canadair DC-4M of Trans-Canada Airlines crashed into Mount Slesse, British Columbia, killing 62 people on board.


09 Jan 1957. F/L Sabourin landed his damaged Canadair CT-33 Silver Star after a rocket had exploded prematurely, at Rivers, Manitoba.  He was awarded the George Medal.

17 Jan 1957. The aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure was commissioned.

12-16 Feb 1957. No. 423 Squadron flew its Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck aircraft from St. Hubert, Quebec to Grostenquin, France to join No. 1 Air Division.

28 Mar 1957.  The prototype Canadair CL-28 Argus, a development of the Bristol Britannia, made its first flight at Cartierville, Quebec, piloted by W.S. Longhurst and crew.

11-12 May 1957. No. 440 Squadron flew its Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck aircraft from RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, to Zweibrücken, Germany to join No. 1 Air Division.

15 May 1957. The RCAF Central Experimental and Proving Establishment (CEPE) was move from Rockcliffe Air Station across town to Uplands Air Station, Ottawa, Ontario.

14 Jun 1957. HMCS Magnificent was paid off and returned to the Royal Navy.

30 Jun 1957. The aerial survey of Canada, begun in the 1920’s, was completed.  The photography was finally completed by No. 408 Squadron in the Arctic Archipelago, flying modified Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 aircraft.

4 Jul 1957. The last NATO flight students arrived for training by the RCAF.

31 Jul 1957.  DEW Line begins operations.

6 Aug 1957. F/L W.J. Marsh rescued the pilot of a crashed Canadair CL-13 Sabre at Chatham, New Brunswick, for which action he was awarded the George Medal.

11 Aug 1957. A Douglas DC-4 of Maritime Central Airways crashed near Issoundun, Quebec, killing all 79 people aboard.

04 Oct 1957. The Avro Canada Arrow prototype was rolled out from the plant at Malton, Ontario.

Dec 1957. Fifty-three Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk.5 all-weather fighters were delivered to the Belgian Air Force.


25 Mar 1958. The Avro Arrow prototype was test flown at Malton, Ontario by Jan Zurakowski.

01 Apr 1958.  The long disused Abbotsford Airport, British Columbia was transferred to the Department of Transport, which built a new terminal building and other facilities and extended the runways so it could be used as a weather alternate for Vancouver International Airport.

01 Apr 1958.  Launch of a Nike-Cajun sounding rocket from the Churchill Research Range with the first Canadian science payload.

18 Apr 1958. The first Canadian aircraft to exceed Mach 1.0 in level flight. The Avro Arrow prototype exceeded Mach 1.5 at 50,000 feet during a test flight at Malton, Ontario, piloted by Jan Zurakowski.

12 May 1958. North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) was established by an agreement signed in Washington, DC, by the United States and Canada, committing both nations to the mutual defence of North America.

30 Jul 1958. The de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario by George Neal and David Fairbanks.

30 Aug 1958. The Guynemer Trophy for aerial gunnery supremacy in the Allied Air Forces Central Europe, was won by No. 1 Air Division, (and again in 1959 and 1960).

18 Oct 1958. The last Canadian-built Sabre, the 1815th produced, was delivered to representatives of West Germany.  It is currently on display at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada in Winnipeg.

08 Nov 1958.  Launch of a Nike-Cajun sounding rocket from the Churchill Research Range with the first Canadian science payload.

28 Oct-20 Dec 1958. The RCAF Canadair C-5 flew Prime Minister Diefenbaker on a round-the-world tour.

4 Dec 1958 The last Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck rolled off the production line at Malton, Ontario.

19 Dec 1958. The first scheduled commercial jet transport flight arrived in Canada, a de Havilland DH.106 Comet of BOAC, landing at Dorval Airport, Montreal, Quebec.


20 Feb 1959.  Termination date of the Avro Arrow.  Black Friday. PM Diefenbaker cancels the Arrow project at the request of the Chief of the Air Staff.  The Canadian military aircraft industry is nearly destroyed.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2185468)

23 Feb 1959.  1909-1959 commemorative 5-cent stamp marking the 50th anniversary (23 Feb 1909) of J.A.D. McCurdy making the first successful aeroplane flight in Canada, piloting the Silver Dart for a distance of 3/4 of a kilometre over the ice-covered surface of Baddeck Bay in Nova Scotia.

23 Feb 1959. A reproduction of the AEA Silver Dart was flown at Baddeck, Nova Scotia by W/C P.A. Hartman on the 50th anniversary of powered flight in Canada.  The pilot of the original Silver Dart, J.A.D. McCurdy, witnessed the flight.

16 May 1959. The newly-formed RCAF aerobatic team, the Golden Hawks, flying gold-finished Canadair CL-13 Sabres, performed its first demonstration at Torbay, Newfoundland.  Other demonstrations were given across Canada, with the final show on 20 Sep at Windsor, Ontario.

01 Jul 1959. The Commonwealth Air Force Memorial, commemorating the 798 men and women who lost their lives in Canada and adjacent waters and lands and who have no known graves, was unveiled at Ottawa, Ontario by Her Majesty the Queen.

05 Sep 1959.  The Black Brant 1, the first all-Canadian sounding rocket, built by Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is launched at the Churchill Range.  Over 3,500 suborbital sounding rockets would be launched from the site to probe the upper atmosphere.

Oct 1959; An RCAF Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1 flew non-stop from Hawaii to North Bay, Ontario in 20 hrs, 10 mins.

24 Nov 1959. The Canadair CC-106 Yukon entered RCAF service.


22 Jun 1960.  Launch of U.S. navigation satellite Transit 2A with a cosmic noise receiver, the first Canadian hardware in space.

10 Sep 1960.  Halifax International Airport opens.

03 Dec 1960.  Edmonton International Airport opens south of the city.

Dec 1960.  The new passenger terminal at Dorval (now Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport), Montreal, Quebec, is opened.  With a length of 2,131 feet (650 meters), it was the largest single passenger terminal in the world at that time.


16 May 1961. The Avro VZ-9V Avrocar prototype made its first untethered flight at Malton, Ontario, piloted by W.J. (Spud) Potocki.

26 May 1961. Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter Canadian prototype (Canadair CL-90) was test flown at Palmdale, California.

30 May 1961. The Canadian Pratt & Whitney PT-6, the first Canadian turboprop engine, was test flown on a modified Beech 18 at Downsview, Ontario, piloted by R.H. Fowler and J. McNeal.

1 May 1961. No. 415 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron was formed at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, as the fourth and last squadron formed in Maritime Air Command.  The unit was equipped with the Canadair CP-107 Argus on the East Coast.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  

In 1981 the Argus was replaced with the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora and the Squadron was transferred to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  It flew these aircraft on operations in the Arabian Sea after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.  In 2005 the squadron was stood down and consolidated with No. 405 Squadron.

On 5 Jun 2015, No. 415 Squadron was reformed as a tactical level force development squadron.  No. 415 Squadron incorporated the former Maritime Proving and Evaluation Unit, No. 14 Software Engineering Squadron and the LRP Advanced Training Flight.  The re-activiation parade took place in front of the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, installing the squadron's 30th commanding officer.

1961.  No. 437 (Transport) Squadron was reformed at Trenton, Ontario in 1961, equipped with the Canadair CC-106 Yukon.  The squadron flew the Yukon on transatlantic service ton Canadian military bases in Europe.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  In 1972 it was re-equipped with the Boeing CC-137 Husky (Boeing 707).  While operating the Husky it provided Air to Air Refueling in addition to transport services.  Two aircraft out of the fleet of five were modified to serve as refueling tankers in mid 1972 to meet a requirement to support the Canadair CF116 (CF-5) Freedom Fighter.  At the end of the useful life of the B707 in 1997, No. 437 Squadron was equipped with Airbus A-310 aircraft, used in both the VVIP transport and air to air refueling rolls.  No. 437 (Transport) Squadron frequently supports government dignitaries while on official visits, including the Prime Minister of Canada and Queen Elizabeth II during Royal tours of Canada.  In June and July 2011 the squadron provided transportation for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they toured Canada and the United States.  The squadron currently operates the Airbus CC-150 Polaris, a modified version of the Airbus A310.  Three are configured for personnel and material transport, while two were reconfigured into the aerial refueling role.

Two CC-150 air-to-air refueling tankers were deployed to support Operation Mobile during the 2011 military intervention in Libya.  No. 437 Squadron refueled the Canadian McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet fighter jets that enforced the no-fly zone over Libya under Operation Odyssey Dawn and Operation Unified Protector.

28 Mar 1961. The RCAF received its first Lockheed CF-104 Starfighters.

01 Oct 1961.  The RCAF takes over Station Beauséjour, Manitoba, the first of 11 United States Air Force-operated Pinetree Line radar sites to be transferred to Canadian control.

28 Dec 1961.  No. 446 (Surface-to-Air Missile) Squadron, the first RCAF nuclear-armed Lockheed CIM-10B Bomarc missile unit, was formed at North Bay, Ontario for North American air defence.  Operational control of the squadron was exercised the the Northern NORAD Region through the 41st NORAD Region.  No. 446 (Bomarc) Squadron received their first warheads on 31 Dec 1963.  Immediately upon arrival at the station, the devices were convoyed directly to the squadron location.  While in Canada the weapons were actually in the custody of Detachment 1 of the USAF's 425th Munitions Maintenance Squadron.

The launch area held the squadron's complement of 28 missiles. The missile shelters were 60 feet long and 36 feet wide.  The shelters were fully enclosed with a hydraulically operated roof.  Each shelter held a single Boeing CIM-10B Bomarc missile. The missiles were built in Seattle except for the wings which were manufactured at Canadair of Montreal.

The squadron members maintained their missiles and remained on stand-by on a 24 hour basis.  As the missiles could not be test fired from North Bay, an elaborate system was set up whereby the missiles were constantly checked and serviced.  The missiles were also connected into the Semi-Automatic Ground Engagement (SAGE) system so that controllers could maintain a selected firing vigilance.  When the missile was fired, it first followed a programmed vertical path and then levelled out on a general heading towards the target.  Through the SAGE, controllers would guide the missile on the correct heading until the missile was close enough for its internal guidance system to take over and lock onto the target.

To ensure proper qualifications and procedures were maintained, periodic Combat Evaluation Launch exercises were held at the Eglin Gulf Test Range at Eglin AFB, Florida.  These exercises used not only the training rounds held at Eglin but also Combat Ready Missiles.  When these were used, at least one would be removed from the squadron and transported to Eglin.  There, the missile was fired on a live intercept, using non-special weapons, to ensure that the Combat Ready Missiles were fully operational.  By the late Sixties, the Bomarcs were rapidly beginning to show their 1950's technology.  Even with upgrades they were no longer seen as a viable defence weapon.  At the same time, the repeated budget cuts to the military saw the need for some cut-back and readjustments.  All of these factors combined, resulted in No. 446 (SAM) Squadron disbanding on 1 Sep 1972.


1 Jan 1962. RCAF Air Transport Command began regular scheduled flights between Trenton, Ontario and Marville, France.

20 Feb 1962. RCAF Avro CF-100 Canuck’s observed the launch of US astronaut John Glenn and monitored infrared rays and radio emissions in conjunction with USAF aircraft at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

6 Apr 1962. The Consolidated Canso was withdrawn from RCAF service.

8 Apr 1962. S/L F.G. McLaren and F/L I.K. McKenzie rescued an occupant of a crashed and buring DHC-1 Chipmunk trainer.  Both were severely burned and were awarded the George Medal.

Jul 1962. No. 425 Squadron, the first RCAF Squadron to be equipped with McDonnell CF-101B Voodoo fighters, moved to its permanent station at Bagotville, Quebec from Namao, Alberta.

21 Jul 1962. A new endurance record was set by a Canadair CC-106 Yukon aircraft of the RCAF which was airborne 23 hrs, 51 mins and covered approximately 7,000 miles (11,265 km).

15 Sep 1962.  No. 447 (Surface-to-Air Missile) Squadron was formed at La Macaza, Quebec.  The squadron was the second RCAF SAM unit equipped with the nuclear-armed Lockheed CIM-10B Bomarc surface-to-air missiles for North American air defence.  On 1 Feb 1968 the squadron was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The squadron was disbanded and the Bomarc's returned to the US on 1 Sep 1972.  The squadron was reformed at CFB Namao, Alberta on 1 Jan 1979 as No. 447 Helicopter Squadron and flew the Boeing Vertol CH-147 Chinook heavy lift helicopter in a variety of roles in support of the Canadian Army, as well as tactical resupply to northern regions.  The squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 1991 with the retirement of the Chinook.

Sep 1962; An RCAF Canadair CC-106 Yukon flew emergency supplies to Tehran, Iran following severe earthquakes there.

28 Sep 1962. The Canadian built Alouette satellite was launched at Vandenberg, California by a Thor Agena B rocket.  WIth the launch of satellite Alouette 1, Canada becomes the third nation after Russia and the USA to build its own satellite.

23 Oct-28 Nov 1962. RCAF Air Defence Command units were on alert during the Cuban missile crisis.

13 Dec 1952.  Launch of Relay-1, a communication satellite built by RCA Limited.  The transponder onboard the spacecraft, provided by a microwave group at the RCA plant in Montreal, is the first Canadian-built hardware in a communications satellite.

15 Dec 1962. No. 427 Squadron of No. 1 Air Division was re-equipped with CF-104 aircraft. All eight Air Division squadrons were re-equipped with the CF-104 by 2 Mar 1964.

31 Dec 1962. The four Avro Canada CF-100 squadrons with No. 1 Air Division (419, 423, 440 and 445 squadrons) were disbanded.

1962.  The first Abbotsford Airshow was held at Abbotsford, BC. From modest beginnings, it had become the largest annual airshow in Canada by 1965.


Jan 1963; The Canadian Aviation Historical Society was formed and issued its first journal.

01 Feb 1963. Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co. Ltd changed its name to United Aircraft of Canada Ltd.

10 Apr 1963. When an RCAF pilot became ill through oxygen failure, his navigator, F/O D.F. Parker, directed  and assisted him to a safe landing.  F/O Parker was awarded the Air Force Cross.

13 May 1963. NORAD Region Headquarters was moved from St. Hubert, Quebec to North Bay, Ontario.

Jun 1963. An RCAF Canadair CC-106 Yukon flew emergency supplies to East Pakistan to provide relief following a severe cyclone.

20 Jul 1963. An RCAF Canadair CC-106 Yukon flew a party of scientists down the track of the shadow of an eclipse to make observations.

28 Sep 1963. The Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system at North Bay, Ontario, for directing air defence, became operational.

3 Oct 1963. The de Havilland DH.106 Comet aircraft were withdrawn from RCAF service.

11 Oct 1963. The Boeing Vertol CH-113 Voyageur helicopter entered RCAF service.

29 Oct 1963. The Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet trainer entered RCAF service.

29 Nov 1963. A Douglas DC-8 of Trans-Canada Air Lines crashed near Ste Thérese, Quebec, killing all 118 people aboard.

31 Dec 1963. The DHC-2 Mk. 3 Turbo Beaver prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario by R.H. Fowler.


07 Feb 1964. The Golden Hawks aerobatic team is disbanded.

20 Feb 1964. In order to rescue a stranded seal hunter, an RCAF Grumman Albatross piloted by F/L R.W. Cass landed among floe ice.  Cpl P.E. Blank effected a rescue in a rubber boat in spite of choppy seas.  F/L Cass was awarded the Air Force Cross and Cpl Blank the British Empire Medal for Gallantry.

12- 23 Mar 1964. The RCAF carried out an airlift to Cyprus to supply a Canadian peace-keeping force.

31 Mar 1964. Nos. 403, 406, 424, 442 and 443 Squadrons of the Auxiliary RCAF were disbanded.

(RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster KB 976 flew a 16+ hour low-level mission in early 1964 from Rockcliffe past Montreal, then along the St. Lawrence River at 75 feet, reaching to the Northern tip of Newfoundland. An MOT civilian monitored the total mission from the Lancaster's nose to assess whether the River's ice would allow year-round shipping.

01 Apr 1964. The Avro Lancaster was retired from the RCAF.

09 Apr 1964. The de Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo prototype was test flown at Downsview, Ontario by R.H. Fowler and A. Saunders.

06 Jun 1964. The historic aircraft collections of the Canadian War Museum, National Aviation Museum and the RCAF were displayed together for the first time at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario.  The three collections together were designated the National Aeronautical Collection.


Jan 1965. Trans-Canada Air Lines name was changed to Air Canada.

06 Apr 1965.  Launch of Early Bird (Intelsat 1), first commercial communication satellite, used by the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation for transatlantic communications (in 1975, it would become Teleglobe Canada).

07 May 1965. The Canadair CL-84 Dynavert prototype was test-flown in hovering flight by W.S. Longhurst at Cartierville, Quebec.

20 May 1965. The de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter prototype was test flown at Downsview, ON by RH Fowler.

31 May 1965. The North American Harvard was retired as an RCAF service trainer after 26 years’ service.

29 Nov 1965.  A Thor-Agena B rocket launches Canada's Alouette 2 from Vandenberg AFB, to continue ionospheric research from space.  This first of the ISIS (International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies) scientific satellites will compile useful data on the ionosphere for almost 10 years.  It was designed and built by Canada, but launched by NASA.

08 Dec 1965. The Canadair DC-4M North Star was retired from the RCAF.


17 Apr 1967.  The airport at Baie Comeau, Quebec was opened.

20 Jun 1967.  No. 448 Squadron was formed at Cold Lake Alberta.  It was responsible for the technical evaluation of new or modified aircraft armament and general systems.  The squadron flew Douglas Dakota Mk. IVM, the Sikorsky H-34A helicopter, Canadair CT-133 Silver Star and the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter.  It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on 1 Feb 1968.

From the formation of the Air Board, air service flight testing and research was based at the Ottawa Air Station, and conducted from Rockcliffe and Shirley's Bay, Ontario.  By 1930, a Test Flight was established at Rockcliffe.  The Test Flight was expanded into the RCAF Test and Development Establishment in November 1940 to meet the demands of the Second World War.  It was renamed the Experimental and Proving Establishment (EPE) in 1946.  Additional units included the Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE) at Edmonton, Alberta, and the RCAF (National Research Council) Unit at Arnprior, Ontario.  

In 1951, all air force experimental units were amalgamated into the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment (CEPE). In 1957, CEPE headquarters moved from Rockcliffe to Uplands.  Jet aircraft testing required a longer runway.  In 1954, CEPE's Air Armament Evaluation Detachment (AAED) was created at Cold Lake, Alberta.  In turn, AAED became No. 448 (Test) Squadron in 1967.  In 1970, No. 448 (Test) Squadron, CEPE and the RCN's No. 10 Experimental Squadron (1952) merged to create the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE).  No. 10 Squadron RCN disbanded on 1 Jul 1970.  No. 448 Squadron was formally redesignated as Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment, Cold Lake, Alberta in 1971.

21 Aug 1967.  No. 429 (Tactical Transport) Unit was established at St. Hubert, Montreal, Quebec.  The squadron flew the Douglas CC-129 Dakota, the de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo, and the Lockheed CC-130 Hercules, for the Canadian Forces Mobile Command.  In Aug 1981 it was renamed No. 429 (Transport) Squadron and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In 1990 the squadron moved to No. 8 Wing, Trenton, Ontario.  The squadron was disbanded in 2005.  In Aug 2007 the squadron was reactivated, operating the Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III in support of Canada's operations in Afghanistan.


01 Feb 1968.  The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act comes into effect, amalgamating the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the RCAF into a single tri-service organization known as the Canadian Armed Forces. The RCAF headquarters is dissolved, and air activities are distributed among various functional components.

29 Mar 1968.  During the Second World War, the squadron number 450 was allocated to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).  Although Canadian squadrons were numbered from 400 to 449, an unusual twist of history resulted in the number 450 being allocated to a Canadian heavy transport squadron.  Nevertheless, Canada received permission to adopt the number and No. 450 Heavy Transport Helicopter Squadron was formed at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec.  The squadron moved to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Ottawa (Uplands) in May 1970 and the squadron received Royal Assent for the designation No. 450 (Transport Helicopter) Squadron on 20 May 1970.

On 1 Aug 1991, the squadron became No. 450 (Composite Helicopter) Squadron and then No. 450 (Tactical Helicopter) Squadron on 1 Apr 1993. The squadron moved back to No. 1 Wing in St. Hubert, Quebec in Aug 1994.  The Chinook was withdrawn from service in the autumn of 1991. No. 450 Squadron continued to operate Bell CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters in support of the RCMP and Joint Task Force 2 after the Chinook’s retirement.  In 1996, No. 450 Squadron was deactivated after almost three decades of uniquely tactical aviation (helicopter) service to the CF and was formally disbanded on 1 Jan 1998.

On 2 May 2012, the squadron was re-established as No. 450 (Tactical Helicopter) Squadron to fly the Canadian Forces’ Boeing Vertol CH-147F Chinook helicopters.  The squadron is based at CFB Petawawa, Ontario, and reports to No. 1 Wing Kingston, Ontario.  The Royal Canadian Air Force accepted the first F-model Chinook on 24 Jun 2013, at the Boeing manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was officially welcomed to Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa on 27 Jun 2013.

24 Jun 1968.  No. 449 (Maritime Training) Squadron was formed at Summerside, Prince Edward Island.  As a result of the phase-out of the Lockheed Neptune aircraft on 1 Apr 1968 major reorganizational changes were made to units at CFB Greenwood and CFB Summerside.  The Maritime Operational Training Unit (OTU) was re-designated No. 449 (Maritime Training) Squadron and relocated to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  The Argus Conversion Unit and No. 9 Field Technical Training Unit were disbanded and their functions were included in the role of No. 449 Squadron.  The Operational Flight Tactical Training section and its technical support was removed from CFB Greenwood's establishment and included in the No. 449 Squadron organization.  On 29 Aug 1975 the squadron ceased to exist.


10 Apr 1970.  The first CC-137 Husky (Boeing 707) arrives at 437 Squadron, CFB Trenton.


9 Nov 1972.  The Anik A1 communications satellite is launched. Canada is the first country with a domestic communications satellite in geostationary orbit.


20 Apr 1973.  Launch of Anik A2, Canada's second communications satellite. Anik A2 is launched to bring network radio, TV and improved telephone services to Canadians living in the North.


1974.  NASA awards Canada the responsibility of designing, developing, and building the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) for the Space Shuttle.  The result is Canadarm, the 15-metre robotic arm. Canada also invests $100 million for its development contributing the first unit to the space shuttle program.  Four other Canadarms are ordered from industrial main contractor Spar Aerospace Limited of Brampton, Ontario.


02 Sep 1975.  Air Command is formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and becomes responsible for all Canadian Armed Forces air operations.

07 May 1975.  Anik A3 is launched on a Delta rocket. Telesat Canada accomplishes another world first by teaming Anik A3 with A2 in the same orbital position to permit the still usable channels on each satellite to be operated as if they were onboard the same spacecraft.


15 Dec 1978.  Anik B, Canada's fourth communications satellite, is launched atop a Delta rocket.  Anik B is the world's first dual-band communications satellite, replacing the Anik A series as a commercial satellite operating in the 6/4-GHz frequencies, and continuing the promising Hermes experiments using six channels in the higher 14/12-GHz range.


29 May 1980 - Canadian Armed Forces accept the first CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.


13 Nov 1981.  Launch of Canadarm aboard Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2).


31 Jul 1982.  Governor General Edward Shreyer presents Air Command with its new Colours in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

09 Sep 1982.  The first operational rescue made possible because of the COSPAS-SARSAT search and rescue satellite-assisted system set up by United States, USSR, France, and Canada.

29 Sep 1982.  Because Canadarm performs so well, NASA extends an invitation to fly a Canadian in space. This is the beginning of the Canadian astronaut program.

12 Nov 1982.  Anik C3 is deployed out of the cargo bay of Columbia during the first commercial mission of the space shuttle (mission STS-5).  Anik C3 carries the equivalent of 32 colour television channels and 21,504 voice circuits.  It is the world's first direct broadcast satellite for commercial use, and is more powerful than the previous Anik series, allowing the use of smaller, 1.2-metre receiving dish antennas, and transmissions to city areas without fear of radio interference.


24 May 1983.  The first McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet arrives at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.

22 Jun 1983.  The first operational use of Canadarm deploys the SPAS-01 out of the cargo bay of shuttle Challenger, four days into mission STS-7.

23 Jun 1983.  With the help of a payload assist module, Anik C2 is deployed out of Challenger's cargo bay, five days into mission STS-7.  C2 followed C3 into orbit because satellites are numbered according to when they are built, not when they are launched. Sally Ride is the first American female astronaut in space.

05 Dec 1983.  The first six Canadian astronauts are selected: Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve MacLean, Ken Money, Robert Thirsk, and Bjarni Tryggvason.


06-13 Apr 1984.  During mission STS-41C aboard space shuttle Challenger, astronauts James Van Hoften and George Nelson do the first on-orbit repair of a satellite, Solar Maximum.  Canadarm is used for the seventh time on a space shuttle mission to support spacewalking astronauts and to deploy the Long-Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF).  This is a platform the size of a school bus that contains 57 materials experiments; three trays are from Canada.

05-13 Oct 1984.  Astronaut Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in space on mission STS-41G aboard Challenger. As a Payload Specialist, he is responsible for CANEX-1, a set of Canadian experiments.  On this mission, Canadarm is operated for the ninth time on a space shuttle flight.

09 Nov 1984.  On day 2 of mission STS-51A, the inaugural flight of space shuttle Discovery, Anik D2 is deployed.  With sister satellite D1, launched in 1982, it is one of the biggest communications satellites of the time.  On the same mission, two stranded communications satellites, Palapa B2 and Westar VI, are the first on-orbit spacecraft retrieved by the space shuttle and returned to Earth.


The Air Force returns to a light blue uniform.

08 Feb 1985. An Ariane 3 rocket is launched from the space centre in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying Brazil's first communications satellite Brasilsat F1, into orbit. This first Canadian-Brazilian effort to bring the benefits of satellite communications to Brazil is also the first time that a Canadian company, Spar Aerospace, is selected as prime contractor for satellites and ground equipment for an international client.

17 Mar 1985.  During the "Clover Summit" in the city of Québec, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney accepts the invitation extended by President Ronald Reagan to take part in the space station project.

19 Mar 1985.  Details are released for a Canadian Space Plan, with a funding of $195 million for fiscal year 1985-1986. The Space Plan includes Canada's participation in the space station project and a mobile communications satellite (MSAT).

12 Apr 1985.  On day 1 of mission STS-51D, Anik C1 is deployed out of the payload bay of Discovery.

16 Apr 1985.  Canada and the U.S. sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the space station project.

17 May 1985.  North American Air Defense Modernization Agreement is signed at Quebec City, establishing the North Warning System (NWS) to replace the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line.


18 Mar 1986.  Canada signs international agreements to become full partner of the International Space Station program.

07 May 1986.  Canada and Japan sign in Tokyo an Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between the two countries.

07 May 1986. The National Research Council of Canada creates a Space Division to manage the Canadian Astronaut Program Office (the Astronaut Office is now part of the Canadian Space Agency) and Canada's new Space Station Program.

01 Aug 1986.  The disbanding of a number of Pinetree Line radar stations is authorized, following construction of the initial NWS radar sites.


01 Mar 1989.  Creation of the Canadian Space Agency; Larkin Kerwin is the first President.


19 Jan 1990.  Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Roberta Bondar is selected to be a Payload Specialist on mission STS-42/IML-1, a Spacelab mission aboard Discovery that will launch to space 22 Jan 1992.

25 Apr 1990.  On day 2 of the six-day mission STS-31, the Hubble Space Telescope, the first of NASA's Great Observatories, is deployed out of Discovery's cargo bay, with the help of Canadarm.  Five Canadian university teams gain access to observation time on the space telescope.

02 Aug 1990.  Iraq invades Kuwait. The Canadian Armed Forces deploy to the Persian Gulf region on Operation Friction, comprising a Naval Task Group, a field hospital and 24 CF-188 fighters.


17 Jan 1991.  The air campaign against Saddam Hussein’s forces begins, two days after Iraq’s deadline to withdraw from Kuwait expires. Ground operations begin on Feb 24 and the operation ends Mar 3 when Hussein agrees to withdraw from Kuwait.


(NASA Photo)

22-30 Jan 1992. Astronaut Roberta Bondar becomes the second Canadian, and first Canadian woman, in space aboard Discovery (STS-42).

08 Jun 1992.  From 5330 application forms, the Canadian Space Agency selects the four candidates who will form the second group of Canadian Space Agency Astronauts. They are: Air Force Capt. Chris A. Hadfield; Julie Payette, an engineer specialized in human-machine interface; Robert Stewart, a geophysicist; and Dr. Daffyd (David) R. Williams, an emergency medical doctor. A week later, Robert Stewart resigns for personal reasons. He is replaced by Air Force Capt. Michael John Mackay.

03 Jul 1992.  Astronauts Marc Garneau and Chris Hadfield are selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become the first Canadian Mission Specialists.  A month later, the two begin training in Houston.

03 Jul 1992.  The airlift of supplies into Sarajevo, coordinated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, begins. The Canadian contribution, dubbed Operation Airbridge, continues until 31 Mar 1995.

(NASA Photo)

22 Oct – 01 Nov 1992.  The third Canadian Space Agency astronaut in space, Payload Specialist Steve MacLean, oversees the CANEX-2 set of Canadian experiments on mission STS-52, in particular, the Space Vision System (SVS) using Canadarm, now on its 29th mission.  The geodesic satellite LAGEOS is deployed out of the cargo bay of Columbia.  He was the second Canadian to perform a spacewalk.


01 Jan 1993.  Flying operations cease at 1 Air Division in Europe.

01 Apr 1993.  Wing formations are re-established throughout Air Command. For instance, Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Quebec, becomes 3 Wing Bagotville. 16 Wing is established at St-Jean, Quebec (later moving to CFB Borden, Ontario), to become a training centre for Air Command. Some wings are lodger units on other bases.

Jun 1993.  Space Agency headquarters completed in Saint-Hubert (Longueuil), Quebec.  The design evokes the space station.  The building houses the astronaut training facilities, the RADARSAT Mission Control Room, the MOC (MSS Operation Centre) and labs devoted to life sciences, robotics, space systems, optics, and computer technology.  In 1996, the building is officially designated as the John H. Chapman Space Centre, commemorating the scientist Canadians consider the father of their space program.

02-13 Dec 1993.  During mission STS-61, the astronauts of Endeavour perform the first Hubble Space Telescope repair and servicing mission.  Claude Nicollier operates the Canadarm to deploy the space telescope, and to support the record number of EVAs (five spacewalks) in a single mission.


04 Nov 1995.  RADARSAT is launched, making it Canada's first Earth-observation satellite.

12-20 Nov 1995. The fourth Canadian in space, Air Force Maj. Chris A. Hadfield, is not only the first Canadian Mission Specialist, he is also the first Canadian aboard space station Mir when he joins four crewmates on mission STS-74, the second Atlantis-Mir Docking Mission.  Hadfield operates Canadarm to install the five-ton Russian Docking Module on the Orbiter Docking System.


Jan 1997.  At its Space Systems facility in Brampton, Ontario, Spar Aerospace completes integration of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). The 17-metre long robotic arm is launched 19 Apr 2001.

31 Jul 1997.  1 Canadian Air Division is created, Air Command headquarters moves to Ottawa, and the office of Chief of the Air Staff is recreated.  Group headquarters disappear and 1 Canadian Air Division assumes responsibility for their functions.

(NASA Photo)

Bjarni Tryggvason inputs data for the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount (MIM) experiment on the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

07-19 Aug 1997.  Bjarni Tryggvason becomes the sixth Canadian astronaut in space for mission STS-85 to deploy the CRISTA-SPAS pallet.  As a Payload Specialist, he tests the next-generation Microgravity Isolation Mount (MIM), a unique Canadian device that he codesigned.


17 Apr – 03 May 1998.  Mission Specialist Dr. Dave R. Williams becomes the seventh Canadian astronaut in space and the first non-American medical officer on a space shuttle mission when he joins six crewmates for mission STS-90/Neurolab, the last mission on the Spacelab module, in the cargo bay of Shuttle Columbia.


24 Mar 1999.  NATO’s Operation Allied Force, the air campaign against targets in Kosovo, begins. Canada’s contribution eventually grows to 18 CF-18s and 300 personnel; the mission is dubbed Operation Echo. On Jun 20, the NATO Secretary General formally ended the air campaign.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3704544)

Astronaut Julie Payette, 1999.

27 May – 06 Jun 1999.  Aboard Shuttle Discovery, Mission Specialist Julie Payette becomes the eighth Canadian Space Agency Astronaut in orbit and the first one to board the embryonic space station when she joins her crewmates on mission STS-96/2A.1, the first logistics mission to the International Space Station (ISS), making use of the Canadarm in its 53rd shuttle flight.


(NASA Photo)

Mission Specialist (MS) Marc Garneau wearing his Launch and Entry Suit (LES) on the middeck of Endeavour, Orbiter Vehicle (OV-105), during re-entry preparations for the STS-97 mission.

30 Nov 2000.  Marc Garneau, the first Canadian to ever go to space, embarks on his third space mission as a crew member of STS-97.  STS-97 features the installation of the first of four pairs of huge solar power arrays on the International Space Station.  The 12-day mission is the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Marc Garneau's third—a record for Canadian astronauts at that time.


19 Apr - 01 May 2001.  Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield, on the STS-100, to deliver Canadarm2 to the International Space Station.

(Scott E. Parazynski, NASA Photo)

24 Apr 2001.  Chris Hadfield, a former CF-188 pilot, becomes the first Canadian to perform an Extra Vehicular Activity, or spacewalk during his second space shuttle mission (STS-100) on board Endeavour.  NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski is reflected in Hadfield's visor.

11 Sep 2001.  Terrorist attacks are carried out against the United States. Canada’s airports accept 224 diverted planes and more than 33,000 displaced passengers. All NORAD forces, including Canadian NORAD Region CF-18 Hornets, go on heightened state of alert in preparation for further attacks.

08 Oct 2001.  The first Canadian contribution to the Afghanistan campaign begins.

18 Nov 2001.  The first air force deployment as part of the Afghanistan campaign begins in the form of the strategic airlift detachment.

27 Nov 2001.  Two CP-140 Auroras deploy to the Afghanistan region to support the Canadian Naval Task Group as part of Operation Apollo.

27 Dec 2001.  The Canadian Armed Forces begin working out of Camp Mirage in the United Arab Emirates; the unit working there is eventually named the Theatre Support Element. Camp Mirage is assigned to Operation Athena (established in Jul 2003) on 16 Aug 2003.


13 Jul 2005.  For the first time since the Korean War, an airdrop resupply mission for troops engaged in combat operations is conducted in Afghanistan.


06 Dec 2008.  The Joint Task Force Air Wing is stood up in Afghanistan as part of Operation Athena.


(NASA Photo)

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, Expedition 21 flight engineer, uses the Fluid Servicing System (FSS) to refill Internal Thermal Control System (ITCS) loops with fresh coolant in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station.

27 May 2009.  Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Robert (Bob) Thirsk launched successfully from Baïkonur, Kazakhstan, aboard Soyuz TMA-15, marking the start of Canada's first long-duration mission in space.  Thirsk stays onboard the International Space Station (ISS) for six months (204 days 18 hours), breaking Canada's-and his own-mission-length record of 17 days.  A physician and mechanical engineer, Thirsk is the mission's Crew Medical Officer, robotics specialist, and specialist for Kibo, the Japanese experimental facility.

24 Jun 2009.  2 Canadian Air Division/Air Force Doctrine and Training Division is established in Winnipeg.

(NASA Photo)

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette, STS-127 mission specialist, is pictured near a window in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station.

15 Jul 2009.  Mission STS-127: Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Julie Payette launches successfully aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour and returns to the International Space Station.  She completed two spaceflights, STS-96 and STS-127, and has logged more than 25 days in space.  She also served as capsule communicator at NASA Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, and from 2000 to 2007 as CSA's chief astronaut.  She became Canada's Governor G on 2 Oct 2017, serving until 21 Jan 2021.

21 Nov 2009.  The NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A) is activated.  The Canadian contribution is called Operation Attention and the mission includes members of the Navy, Army and Air Force.


05 Nov 2010.  Camp Mirage closes.


25 Feb 2011.  Task Force Malta, the first phase of Operation Mobile, begins. Over 11 days, the Air Force assists in the evacuation of Canadian and foreign nationals from Libya.

18 Mar 2011.  The second phase of Operation Mobile begins.  Dubbed Task Force Libeccio, it is the Forces’ combat mission to the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector in the seas near and skies over Libya.

07 Jul 2011.  The Canadian Armed Forces combat mission in Afghanistan ends.  The final RCAF flying unit returns home in Nov and Operation Athena ends on 1 Dec.

08 Jul 2011.  End of the Shuttle Program Final Flight of Atlantis.  This flight marked the Canadarm's 90th mission since it first flew on Shuttle Columbia on STS-2, in 1981.  Canadian astronauts have flown 14 times on the Space Shuttle. Chris Hadfield and Steve MacLean are the only Canadian Space Agency Astronauts that have flown on Shuttle Atlantis.

16 Aug 2011.  The titles Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force are restored, replacing Maritime Command, Land Force Command and Air Command.

31 Oct 2011.  Operation Mobile ends.


12 Mar 2012.  Dextre's Most Dexterous Task: Canadian Space Agency Robot Sets Record for Precision.  Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency's robotic handyman on board the International Space Station (ISS), accomplishes the most intricate work ever performed by a robot in space.  Over three days (7-9 Mar 2012), Dextre successfully concludes the initial phases of the Robotic Refueling Mission with unprecedented precision.  A collaboration between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Robotic Refueling Mission was designed to demonstrate the ability of using robots to refuel and service existing satellites in space - especially those not designed for repair.  The mission also marks the first time Dextre is used for a technology research and development demonstration on board the Station.

25 May 2012.  Canadarm2 performs a cosmic catch by grappling the Dragon capsule and attaching it to the International Space Station. Dragon is the first commercial spacecraft to dock to the Station.

19 Dec 2012.  Astronaut Chris Hadfield returns to space for a third time during Expedition 34/35 and becomes the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station during the second half of his six-month mission.  Col Hadfield launched in the Soyuz TMA-07M flight for a long duration stay on board the ISS as part of Expedition 35.  He arrived at the station two days later, as scheduled, and became the first Canadian to command the ISS when the crew of Expedition 34 departed in March 2013.  On 12 May 2013, he turned over command of the ISS, and returned home aboard the Soyuz spacecraft on 13 May.  He received significant media exposure during his time on the ISS, and ended his time on the station by paying tribute to David Bowie with a rendition of "Space Oddity".


10 Nov 2013.  Operation Renaissance, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to humanitarian aid in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, begins.


18 Mar 2014.  The last Canadian troops return home from Afghanistan.


30 Jun 2015.  The commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, MGen Dave Wheeler, along with the commander of No. 4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta, Col Eric Kenny, participated in a ceremony to reactivate No. 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron.  Its first deployment was to Kuwait for offensive operations during Operation Impact.  The squadron flies the McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet.


On 20 November 2018, No. 401 Squadron celebrated its 100th anniversary.





15 Jan 2022. Final operational flight of the CC-115 Buffalo by aircraft 115452 and 115465 at 19 Wing Comox.



01 Apr 2024.  100th Anniversary of the RCAF.

01 Apr 2024.  Avro Lancaster (Serial No. KB882) is slated to be unveiled, fully restored, on the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RCAF, at the National Museum of the RCAF, CFB Trenton, Ontario.   KB 882 was built by Victory Aircraft in 1945 and delivered to Britain.  The aircraft joined No. 428 Squadron in March of that year.  Flown on six operational sorties over Germany, the aircraft was returned to Canada in June 1945 and entered storage.  In 1952 the aircraft was modified to Mk 10P configuration and flew with No. 408 Squadron.  In 1964 the aircraft was purchased by the City of Edmundston, New Brunswick and has since been on outside display at the Municipal Airport.   In Oct 2017 it was moved to CFB Trenton, Ontario.  Avro Lancaster (Serial No. KB882) is slated to be fully restored and unveiled on 1 April 2024, on the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RCAF, at the National Museum of the RCAF, CFB Trenton, Ontario.


Fuller, G.A., Griffin, J.A., and Molson, K.M. 125 Years of Canadian Aeronautics – A Chronology 1840-1965. (The Canadian Aviation Historical Society, 1983).

Kostenuk, Samuel, and Griffin, John.  RCAF: Squadron Histories and Aircraft 1924-1968.  (Canadian War Museum Historical Publications No. 14, 1 Jan 1977)

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